Strong Woman of Moapa Valley – Suzy Bennett
Suzy Cole Bennett was born in Oklahoma and raised in Henderson, Nevada, and she is the daughter of Arnold and Peggy Cole. Her parents made the choice to move to southern Nevada so her dad could work at the Test Site and give their family a better life. Her dad later owned a car and a camper lot in Henderson for many years. During the gas crunch of the early ‘70s, he closed those two businesses. He later opened a hardware and CB radio store which ran for several years. Suzi grew up seeing the challenges small business owners faced. (She still works in a small business with her mom.)
Growing up, she loved riding horses and rodeo. She competed in barrel racing and goat tying, and was pretty good at both. She also loved camping, water skiing, and fishing, and spent countless hours at Lake Mead with her parents and friends.
She met her husband Kevin in Dallas, Texas. She said, “I went back and married the poorest Okie I could find. But he is also the sweetest, kindest, best man I’ve ever known. He is solid, a hard worker, and a terrific dad and grandpa.” Of the two, Suzy is the vocal one. She is outgoing while Kevin is more reserved. If you ask her, she will tell you that they compliment each other perfectly.
She and Kevin came to southern Nevada for a vacation in January of 1994, and then returned to Oklahoma where they made the decision to pull up stakes and make Nevada their new home. It took four days to pack their belongings, sell their farm equipment, get Kevin’s mom married off, and head to southern Nevada where Kevin found a job with Mr. Ice.
Suzi and Kevin are the parents of daughter Shelby and son Cole whose personalities mirror those of their parents. They quickly and enthusiastically adopted their son-in-law David into their family, and welcomed Bennett, the cutest little granddaughter ever.
The year 2005 was a rough one for Suzy. Her oldest brother Greg was killed in a motorcycle accident and her dad passed later that year. Of her brother, she says, “Greg was always my champion. It was a great, but hard lesson to learn that I could do things on my own after he was gone.” Greg’s death left a huge hole, not just in the lives of his family members, but also in the city of Henderson as well. Greg coached Little League Baseball for seventeen years without ever having a child in the league. For almost three decades, he worked as a surveyor for the city of Henderson. So in 2006, in honor of his service, the city of Henderson named a baseball field at Callaghan Park after him. A large rock at the field is inscribed simply, Greg Cole Field. “My mother, my brother, Rod, and I couldn’t have been prouder,” said Suzy.
Since 2007, Suzy has run her own dairy farm, and milked upwards of twelve goats twice a day for years. She makes her own goat milk-based soap which she says is amazing. She also makes her own cheese. From mozzarella to ricotta, bleu cheese to feta, her home cooked meals are never complete without at least a sprinkling of fresh cheese. Because of regulations relating to small family farms, she couldn’t sell the goat milk, but she often loaned jars that just happened to be filled with it. During the goat birthing season, she receives three to four calls a week to assist with the goat births. She refers to herself as a goat midwife.
Farming is not Suzy’s only passion. She sews, knits, crochets, and loves any kind of crafting. She is extremely talented and shares her talents in so many ways. The girl who once believed she couldn’t do much is now the woman who believes it is possible to accomplish whatever she puts her mind to.
An avid supporter of the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in Logandale, Nevada, Suzy worked in the Fine Arts Building from 1996 through 2000. She helped with the set-up and display of the breathtaking needlework entered by talented women and men. Handmade quilts and clothing, afghans, dolls, and artwork were all tastefully displayed with a variety of themes over the years. Now, she enters her own handmade creations.
Active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she has held positions in the Young Womens program, Primary, Relief Society, and Sunday School. She currently teaches an early morning seminary class of senior high school students. Always an early riser anyway, her seminary calling ensures she is up each and every day well before the sun. She and Kevin also work and serve in the LDS temple in Las Vegas every Wednesday evening.
In addition, Suzy is an active member of the Moapa Valley and Mesquite Chambers of Commerce and the Rotary Club, because she believes in giving service, being a positive influence, and doing good for her community.
She is currently employed as a consultant for Mesquite Regional Business Development Center (SBDC) where she helps small business owners, small business start-ups, and those wanting more information on starting or running a small business. Through the SBDC, she provides free information, assistance, counseling, and training. When she speaks about helping small business owners and entrepreneurs, her enthusiasm is contagious. Her smile and quick wit add to her overall demeanor.
Lukewarm is not a word anyone would ever use to describe Suzy’s devotion to any of her undertakings. On any given day, you will find her actively supporting and reassuring those with whom she comes in contact, that life is good, and that it is possible to accomplish whatever they put their mind to. “My favorite thing is encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone and take a chance,” Suzy says. “Building relationships is the most important thing you can do when it comes to helping others.” Spend just a few minutes with her, and you will feel her passion for family, friends, community, church, and life itself.